Posts Tagged ‘ Tanvi Azmi ’

Bajirao Mastani

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Bajirao Mastani
Release date: December 18, 2015
Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Milind Soman, Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Priyanka Chopra, Tanvi Azmi, Deepika Padukone, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi

Newspaper gossip columns and bytes from the “entertainment” industry have a way of finding ways into our lives, how much ever we may resist their passive charms. There have been colored headlines talking about Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ambitions of making a magnum opus on the relationship between Bajirao Ballal Bhat and his wives Kashi Bai and Mastani. After publicly confessing of giving up on this project, Bhansali creates, right from his first scene of the film, a masterful universe from the eighteenth century.

The opening sequence is an open court where the appointment of a new Peshwa is in order. The Chhatrapati (Mahesh Manjrekar) indulges his political adviser (Aditya Pancholi) and his war-chief (Milind Soman) over their debate of who should be elected. Without song and dance, and armed with only a thumping and catchy background score and his sword, emerges Bajirao (Ranveer Singh) with a freshly buzzed head and a mouth full of memorable lines. His instant wit, will and skill seal the deal for him, and the decision is accepted with a warm ovation. Mr. Bhansali takes a detour from his usual ways and gets his film running at a good pace right from the start.

Bajirao leads his battalion to a smart victory in his first battle, proving his mettle to one and all. While he carried on with his conquers, his younger brother Chimaji Appa (Vaibbhav Tatwawadi) creates a new rambunctious home to complement Bajirao’s laurels. The home and the Aainaa Mahal are marvels of wonder, almost worth the price of the ticket just by themselves. Kashi (Priyanka Chopra) garnishes and adorns it with her conceding love and admiration for her husband. The two of them have a delicately playful and intimate relationship which is faced by the attractions of Mastani (Deepika Padukone), the love child of a Rajput King and his Muslim wife.

Mastani is the princess of Bundelkhand, out to seek the help of the brave Maratha warrior to fend off the claws of the Mughals. She can fight, and do Kathak, and elude swords with swords of her own. Her introduction to the dynamic brings the conflict along with it. A Muslim second wife cannot be accepted in a kingdom based on establishing a Hindu state. The Brahmins of Pune and Bajirao’s mother (Tanvi Azmi) along with Chimaji stand together in opposition of his union with Mastani. The entire drama between the wives, Kashi and Mastani, is handled with grace and tact.

Wars are shot in magnanimous scale, moments of passion between Bajirao and Kashi with warm diffusion, yet there’s an old school approach of keeping the second wife Mastani physically disconnected with her lover and just an amount of “obsessive” platonic love between them. Perhaps, to stay safe from more allegations and stupid “my sentiments are hurt” litigation suits against the film. If you’re denied of watching this film by the way of a protest against the film, then it’s just your bad luck.

Yes, there are cinematic liberties and a fair disclaimer before the film begins. There’s a Dil Dola like number where Kashi and Mastani dance to their heart’s content with the poetic undertone of being involved in a Rukmini-Krishna-Radha love triangle. Bajirao stomps and swirls in a shoddily-penned war celebration song. But then, Bhansali compensates for these excesses by giving us powerful exchanges between the protagonists and lines of dialogue that will be remembered for quite some time in the near future.

The beauty of it all is all-encompassing with the film’s cinematographer, Sudeep Chatterjee’s lens captures Bhansali’s vision immaculately. The color palette isn’t as diverse as that of Ram-Leela (2013), but the limited number of permutations and combinations are put to use smartly. Be it the rain in the times of war-cries, the golden glow on Mastani, or the earthy shades around Kashi, they all add to the mise en scene in more ways than one.

Ranveer Singh ascends to new heights of stardom with his all guns blazing display, with his impassionate Marathi diction and the swashbuckling flamboyance of a great mass-leader. His character is the center of the attraction for the two women, and the actor himself is the center of the movie. He holds the film strongly with good supporting actors subordinating the ranks beneath him. Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone’s characters are treated with equal importance, the way Bhansali did back in 2002 in Devdas. Chopra infuses a strong energy with her spirited Kashi Bai, Padukone is the glum, poetry-quoting, wronged lover to the hilt.

Bajirao Mastani is dramatic, and it’s poised. It’s majestic and it’s cruel. It is, undoubtedly, the film to watch this weekend.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Bobby Jasoos

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Bobby Jasoos
Release date: July 4, 2014
Directed by: Samar Shaikh
Cast: Vidya Balan, Ali Fazal, Prasad Barve, Aakash Dahiya, Supriya Pathak, Tanve Azmi, Benaf Dadachandji, Rajendra Gupta, Zarina Wahab, Arjan Bajwa, Anupriya Goenka, Kiran Kumar

If I push you right into the plot of the film without giving you a proper introduction to the basic story, you would feel that my review is jerky. That is just one of the only few problems with Bobby Jasoos. The wobbly start and an immediate change of course towards the last act of the film are perhaps the only major hiccups in this fun and innovative caper.

Bilkis Ahmed a.k.a. Bobby is a self-trained private detective with no professional connections, she takes up cases for her friends, and other near ones. In disguise, she can fool even her family into thinking that she isn’t the one they’re asking to read their palm, under a tree, right in the middle of a bustling street. Running her office with  Shetty (Prasad Barve) who runs his Cyber Cafe, their chemistry is slowly established. Shetty is an unsaid Salman Khan fan, he shows his fandom by never claiming it openly by wearing overly fitting t-shirts and a turquoise bracelet.

Assisting her are Munna (Aakash Dahiya) and even her family women, comprising of her mother played by Supriya Pathak, her aunt Kausar Khala (Tanve Azmi) and her sister Noor (Benaf Dadachandji) even though her father (Rajendra Gupta) is opposed  to the concept of his daughter pacing around the bylanes of Old Hyderabad, chasing random strangers and prying on their lives. A lucrative offer from Anees Khan (Kiran Kumar) starts adding the stars and honors to Bobby’s credentials, but as she progresses she realizes it isn’t just a spy job.

The detailing in Bobby’s appearance is precious to look at, she carries a handy pack of Parle-G biscuits and a bottle of water handy in her backpack. She pretends to be busy when an able competitor shows up to check out her office. Even her friends, be it Shetty or Tasawwur (Ali Fazal) who seeks her help to reject prospective brides, have their own likeability factor going for them. Ali Fazal grows as a performer and suits the part perfectly. The ensemble of Gupta, Pathak, Azmi, Dadachandji and Kiran Kumar assist in keeping even the bit players entertaining.

The strength of Bobby Jasoos lies in its writing and acting, up until the final resolution to the film’s major conflicts. The unveiling of the climactic suspense is disappointing, not as much as a heavy underhanded attempt at keeping the film feel-goody. The way the makers decide to pull it through, leaving behind some vital hints behind, the jigsaw pieces don’t fit into the puzzle perfectly. Coupled with a completely unnecessary song-and-dance dream sequence number, the poor music and background score don’t help their case either.

Again, Vidya Balan is the quintessential ‘hero’ of the film here, and the director chooses to treat her struggles at the family front with as much justice as her professional dilemmas. It’s a simple scene at the end, it is touching, but as a viewer, I didn’t feel particularly moved by its purpose and the lines said by the two involved characters here. Surely the moments of Bobby’s professional growth and the inkling of a love life were the most enjoyable portions for me.

Bobby Jasoos with its rich template of cinematography and colorful moments is a good film with its flaws. Not many makers dare to venture with a story as unconventional as this at its core.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

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Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Release date: May 31, 2013
Directed by: Ayan Mukherji
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin, Dolly Ahluwalia, Aditya Roy Kapur, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Evelyn Sharma, Poorna Jagannathan, Faarooq Shaikh, Tanvi Azmi

A romcom about four youngsters transcending mountains, weddings and lavish costumes is what Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani appears to be from the outside. And that’s what it pretty much is.

Bunny/Kabir Thapad (Ranbir Kapoor) wants to be a globetrotter, while his friends: Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) and Avi (Aditya Roy Kapur) don’t have a set goal except for livin’ it up. On a chance meeting with the vagrantish Aditi, Naina (Deepika Padukone) who is an eternal nerd realizes what she’s been missing out on. She joins them on a trek to Manali and tries to fit in with the rambunctious trio.

And as normal people with normal hormones, there’s an attraction between the characters here as well. Only they are lopsided. Bunny decides to take a major step towards fulfilling his dreams and moves out for further studies. How all of them change and if they can reconnect after a period of eight years form the remaining tale.

The writers aim to accomplish quite a few stories here, as it always is with films with such number of leading characters. Bunny’s non-conformance to a regular lifestyle, Aditi’s suppressed feelings and her subsequent transformation, Avi’s refusal to accept his old friend, and Naina’s need to enjoy the smaller joys of life. The film’s pace is indulgent and perhaps dampening to its mood.

Ranbir and Kalki are in fine form, except for her jarred introduction. Even the smaller roles, like that of Kunaal Roy Kapur as the bumbling Taran and Faarooq Shaikh as Bunny’s father add to the narrative. Special mention for Deepika Padukone who simply looks, walks and moves like a cliche million bucks. I couldn’t comprehend for a few hours if I could ever complete this review without getting an anxiety attack while reconstructing her scenes and songs. Oh yes, the songs! They are aplenty and baffling given their length. Albeit colorful and entertaining, the dance numbers’ presence in such a capacity cannot be justified.

Also all of  Ranbir’s scenes have a ‘grand introductory scene’ like feel to them. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. The lines are witty and liberally funny. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is shot beautifully, it lacks that finish which would have made it a more complete experience. I am not saying YJHD is not enjoyable and fun, it’s just that it could have been *that* bit better.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5 stars)

P.S. Evelyn Sharma’s unabashed hotness.
P.P.S. The P.S. deserves to be in this review goddammit!

Aurangzeb

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Aurangzeb
Release date: May 17, 2013
Directed by: Atul Sabharwal
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Prithviraj, Sasheh Agha, Sikandar Kher, Tanvi Azmi, Amrita Singh, Jackie Shroff, Deepti Naval, Swara Bhaskar, Sumeet Vyas, Kavi Shastri

Aurangzeb takes comfort in describing itself as an action thriller film, but it’s more of an etched out drama. Encasing an Indian family dispute into a game of power and a fight to the finish, definitely abiding by the long inculcated principles.

Prithviraj’s character Arya Phogat – a police inspector; plays the involved narrator who’s also one of the lead players of the story. His dying father (a brief guest appearance by Anupam Kher) asks of him a promise and Arya unwillingly starts his way towards fulfilling it. His uncle Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor) knows all about this and is also in the police. In fact Ravikant’s son Dev (Sikandar Kher) and son-in-law Vishnu (Sumeet Vyas) are also cops.

This isn’t good cop bad cop. Yet. Arya’s step brother Vishal and his long-lost twin brother Ajay – both the characters played by Arjun Kapoor; are the biological sons of Veera (Tanvi Azmi) and Yashvardhan (Jackie Shroff) who are separated due to some incidents and now they are required to swap themselves and convince the world around them. Sasheh Agha plays Ritu, Ajay’s girlfriend who is now used to his sadist tendencies.

The first half starts out with heavy drama and a few theatrical introductions, eventually building some intrigue at the halfway mark. Being the film that it is, the number of people in the cast is extensive but abused at times. Like Deepti Naval portraying a nameless wife to Ravikant, faces a shock that their son-in-law’s death wasn’t a suicide. She has a brief reaction in the background, probably aimed for greater consequences but sheared at the editor’s table.

That wasn’t the only awkward cut in Aurangzeb though. There are a few more loose ends and you begin to lose hope that this is just another semblance of family reunion fluff of the seventies, but the makers decide to emphasize on the builder-government-police corruption angle in Gurgaon’s ‘booming’ infrastructure sector and a beckon for the cops to act with a backbone and opt out of the influential cut.

Arjun Kapoor in his double role is flexible in ranging his emotions from the demure Vishal to the outlandishly cocky Ajay. Rishi Kapoor is entrusted to utter the forced Aurangzeb ideologies here and he doesn’t disappoint. What you take away with you after the film has ended, are the individual performances. Amrita Singh and Jackie Shroff shine here as well.

All in all, Aurangzeb has a story to tell, and with very less light moments, it does accomplish to make you believe in the what-is-he-going-to-do-next moments. For a film that takes itself so seriously, it flounders with technical absurdities at important junctures. (I haven’t specified because they could result in being spoilers)

My rating: *** (3 out of 5 stars)

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